steveo, on Apr 20 2005, 05:42 PM, said:
You get no sympathy from me on this. The regional networks have had years to plan for implementing HD and should have been ready.
I am a ludite but to me digital data is digital data whether it is HD or not. Digital data is designed to be stored and retrieved and the technology for that has been available for nearly 60 years. I can't see why commercials cannot be recorded in HD format and inserted into the various broadcast streams rather than need ing separate encoders for each stream. It may be hard but years ago when I was a public servant there used to be signs everywhere from the Secretary saying "Make it happen".
Agreed - they have had a fair bit of time to plan for this, but remember that HD (and SD for that matter!) only started in Australia 3 years earlier. They are also combining playout facilities to make the move to digital happen, and this takes a lot of time. In the case of Southern Cross, they had to wait for more optic fibre to be laid between the mainland and Tasmania before moving playout to Canberra!
Digital data is digital data, no doubt. Commercials are stored in playout systems, and are automatically sent to the appropriate encoders (this was true for analog, and now SD digital). However, MPEG2 is an ugly beast, and one of its problems is that it is a true 'stream' format. Hence you can't chop and splice as neatly as 'frame' formats (like 35mm film!). The data is stored in a way that can be decoded easily into frames during playback, but not easily encoded into a stream (it is computationally intensive). There are now some limited MPEG2 editing systems, but even these are limited in their capabilities, and certainly not ready for real-time HD playout.